This Sunday, the Milwaukee Bucks (22-10) will travel to Boston, MA to take on the Boston Celtics (23-10). Tipoff will be at 5:00 PM EST inside TD Garden. This will be the first time these two teams have faced each other this season, as I expect a fight on Christmas Day!
The Milwaukee Bucks come to this after falling to the Brooklyn Nets, 118-110 on Friday. Milwaukee struggled on the defensive end of the field, allowing the Nets to shoot 49.5% from the floor. They’re going to have to take more shots in this game if they want to challenge the Celtics on the road.
The Boston Celtics come into this game after defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves, 121-109, on Friday. Boston looked great on both ends of the floor, as they’re going to have to stay efficient at this if they want to take care of business at home.
Can foreign currency return on Christmas Day?
The Milwaukee Bucks are currently second in the Eastern Conference standings, trailing the first-place Celtics by 0.5 games. On offense, they score 112.5 points a game and shoot 46.1% from the floor. This is the 17th most points scored in each competition and the 22nd highest shooting percentage for the team. According to dunksandthrees.com, the Bucks have an adjusted offensive efficiency rating of 112.2, which is the 15th highest in the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to lead the way on the offensive end of the field, scoring 31.6 points per game on 53.7% shooting from the field. Milwaukee has also shown that they are most successful when they attack the basket. They only shot 35% from depth, the 17th highest in three-point shooting. Milwaukee continued to leave points on the court as well. They only shoot 74% from the charity bar, which is the 27th highest free throw percentage in the league.
On the defensive end of the field, the Milwaukee Bucks surrendered 109.2 points and forced their opponents to shoot 45.1% from the floor. This is the fifth lowest number of points surrendered per game and the second lowest shooting percentage allowed. According to dunksandthrees.com, the Bucks have an average defensive rating of 109.1, which is the second-lowest in the NBA. Milwaukee also continued to intercept snaps near the rim and on the outside. They hold their opponents to 35% shooting from behind the arc, which is the ninth-lowest three-point shooting percentage allowed. The Bucks continued to break offensive and defensive glass as well. They grab 48.3 rebounds per game, which is the second most. They can’t let the Celtics score second chance points if they want to stay in this game.
Injury report: Kris Middleton SF (knee) Questionable.
Are the Celtics heating up?
The Boston Celtics still hold the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings, 0.5 games clear of the second-place Bucks. On offense, they score 118.1 points per game and shoot 47.6% from the floor. This is the second most points scored in each competition and 12th highest shooting percentage for a team. According to dunksandthrees.com, the Celtics have an average offensive rating of 117.3, the highest in the NBA. Jayson Tatum continues to lead the way on the offensive end of the field, scoring 30.6 points per game on 47.2% shooting from the field. Boston has also shown that they have many players who can stay behind the arc and make it rain. They shoot 37.6% from depth, which is the sixth-highest three-point shooting percentage in the league. The Boston Celtics will need to stay hot at the charity bar, too. They’ve hit 82.8% on free throws this season, which is the highest in the NBA. They can’t miss these free basket looks and still expect to win these games.
On the defensive end of the field, the Celtics allowed 112.2 points and forced their opponents to shoot 46.6% from the floor. This is the 13th lowest points delivered per contest and the 13th lowest shooting percentage allowed. According to dunksandthrees.com, the Celtics have an adjusted defensive rating of 111.6, which is the eighth lowest in the NBA. Boston has also shown that it will compete in shots near the rim and the perimeter. They allow their opponents to shoot 35.1% from behind the arc, which is the tenth lowest three-point shooting percentage allowed in the league. The Boston Celtics will need to continue breaking glass offensively and defensively, too. They grab 43.8 rebounds per game, which is 11th most.
Injury Report: Robert Williams III C (illness) Questionable.
Best bets for this game
Full bet on the side of the game
I’ll take the Celtics and put the points (-4.5) home. They score the second most points per game and have continued to score from anywhere on Earth. They will attack the basket and make it rain from the depths, for I do not see that the dollars can slow it down. I also don’t see the dollars being able to score enough pips to cover this spread. According to dunksandthrees.com, the Bucks have the 15th highest average offensive rating, and they only score 17 points per game. Boston will appear on both ends of the field and will have solid shortstops throughout this game. This will lead to easy points going the other way, as the Celtics will slowly pull away on Christmas Day. Boston is on the defensive end better than most people think and Tatum and Brown will want to get going in front of the whole country. The Boston Celtics will dominate both ends of the field and take care of business at home.
The Celtics chose to put the points (-4.5).
Prediction: Boston Celtics -4.5
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Total selection of the full game
I’m going to throw under (225.5) this game, as I don’t see any of these teams scoring enough to push that total over the number. The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the better defensive teams in the league, as I see them making it difficult for the Celtics to score consistently in this game. They will apply pressure near the edge and on the outside, as the Celtics will struggle to find open shots. I also see both teams slowing the ball down and limiting the number of shots taken from the floor. According to dunksandthrees.com, they have the 14th and 15th highest adjusted speed ratings, because they won’t run the ball down the field in this game. Mid-tempo and both teams will be good enough defensively to keep that total under the number. Boston has the ninth-highest defensive average rating while the Bucks have the second-highest defensive tackle. These are two of the best defensive teams in the NBA, as I see this as a fight to the end. Less than 4-1 in the last five meetings between these two teams in Boston. I will trust history on this one.
Pick Under (225.5) and expect a defensive battle!
Prediction: Less than 225.5
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